Camille Styles

Work Life

How to Be the Successful Friend Without Being a Snob

August 18th, 2017

Editor’s Note: This week I’m passing the career advice torch to Career Contessa’s Editorial Director, Kit Warchol. Kit’s an LA girl and knows a thing or two about managing friends, careers, and finances, so she was a natural choice to tell this story when we came up with the concept. Enjoy her fantastic advice!

When you attend a liberal arts school and befriend aspiring writers, artists, and musicians, something happens after graduation: people don’t move on to law firms or tech companies. Instead, they take day jobs at restaurants or freelance as production assistants in the name of their passion, spending every free moment between shifts rehearsing with their band or painting in small corners of tiny studio apartments.

Unlike many of my friends, I don’t have a clear creative calling. This isn’t so much self-deprecating as it is realistic – there will be no film deals, gallery shows, or record label contracts for me. Instead, I headed down a much more traditional career path than anyone I knew At 22, I took a full-time gig with benefits. And by 25 (through sheer luck, honestly) I’d stumbled into the kind of job that paid so well, I could afford to shop exclusively at Whole Foods and drink $12 green juices every morning if I wanted. By many standards, I’d made it. I’d actually find later when I was burnt out and creatively unfulfilled that I hadn’t. But at the time, expendable income felt glamorous and I was ready to treat myself.

Here’s the problem with this scenario: none of my friends were there with me. Suddenly, I was the odd kid out who’d skipped ahead into a different tax bracket. We’ve talked about the importance of honesty when it comes to talking money with friends, but when you’ve lucked into financial stability, how do you make things fair for everyone?

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  1. Karin says:

    Those advice ideas so simple, but make perfect sense in our modern days. We can all be generous with our friends at times, but an Apple watch would be obscene. Love the ideas of Nars lipsticks and beautiful small candles though.

  2. jeansandatea says:

    Love this so much. I’m in my early 40s and my friends and I have experienced financial highs and lows along the way (and never at the same rate). We’ve all had our turn helping out the others along the way. These are great tips and thanks for sharing.

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea

  3. Jalene says:

    Decent advice but I really don’t like the title. You can be successful without making a lot of money. For example, I know a lot of awesome teachers. They are killing it in their career, but the pay is what it is.

  4. Kate says:

    Great advice. As my friends and I have progressed through our careers (now in our mid 30’s), the “hierarchy” of our salaries has shifted over and over. My younger brother, to whom I lent rent money several years ago, is now killing it in his career and makes four times what I do. The important thing is that no matter how fat or slim our paychecks, we have stayed good, honest friends and family.

    One thing to note is that career envy sometimes goes both ways. Those who make more money may envy the flexibility or passion that a lesser paid friend has, and so on. I took a major pay cut and career hiatus to spend more time with my infant son, while my friend who is a doctor laments that she wishes she had more time to spend with her daughter.

    Money shouldn’t matter, but it does. We just can’t let it matter too much!

  5. B says:

    I wish I had friends like this.

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